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Resources for Trip Planning

October 20, 1998
by Doc Smith

     This is a work-in-progress; expect it to be updated, changed, whatever, as time goes on.  If YOU have anything to contribute to this guide, please send it to me!

     You probably have enough information at hand to plan for a bike trip to a neighboring state or of a few hundred miles.  But what do you do if you've been bitten by the 'middle-aged crazy bug' and want to go motorcycle touring in a whole 'nother country?!?  What if you WANT to explore distant lands by motorcycle (or Hell, even by car) but you don't know anyone 'there' who can give you useful information before you leave?

      What I'm going to try to build here is a list of URLs which will take you to web sites with information to help you plan your 'long trip/trip of a lifetime'.  My links page shows places where you can sign up for motorcycle tours or lease bikes, should you decide, say, to fly from the U.K. to the Rocky Mountains in the western U.S.  On this page, I'll try to suggest some web sites that will help you with airlines, provide information about cities and states you'll encounter, and numerous bits and pieces like exchange rates, tipping, passport/visa requirements, and so forth.

     Please give me some feedback about this if you find it useful/useless, okay?  I have this itch to tour Australia or Ireland on a bike - I actually made this web site as part of my effort to tap into the Internet for information should I ever get the time and money to take the trip.


     Look here for information about free e-mail, trip planning guides, maps and directions and restaurant guides.

     FREE E-MAIL:  You've already got e-mail, why do you need free e-mail?  Well, in many parts of the U.S., more and more public libraries, airports, and even urban coffee shops are starting to provide Internet access.  Now, since they don't connect you to your Internet Service Provider, you can't access mail from that ISP if you're at a library in Elko, Nevada.  However, if you set up a free e-mail account, you can send and receive e-mail from any computer that can connect you to a web.  Even if you spend a night with Aunt Gertie in Armpit, Nebraska, you can use her T1 high speed connection to surf over to your free e-mail account and send a note back to the kids, telling them how much of their inheritance you spent today.
     Another nice thing about these free e-mail sites is that if you drop AOL (who hasn't!) and switch to another ISP, you don't have to change your e-mail address - your free e-mail address is still out there, ready to send and receive e-mail.  You just go to that site and have your e-mail forwarded to your new ISP mailbox.  A downside to the free e-mail sites is that when you read your mail, you see ads on your page.  Some have more ads than others, in fact.  (The ads are not sent to people you e-mail; they appear at the top of the page on e-mail that you read, or else when you log out of your e-mail)  BUT THE ADS USUALLY DON'T APPEAR IF YOU FORWARD MAIL TO YOUR HOME ISP, and people receiving e-mail from you don't get ads, either. Another downside is how much (if any) you can "attach" to your mail.  Some limit you to NO ATTACHMENTS, others limit you to 500K, and so forth.  Finally, when you want to send e-mail to "Sexy Suzy SquidRider" at hotbikerbabes.com, you can send it from your free e-mail address and nobody at home knows what you've done! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more.

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     TRIP PLANNING GUIDES: Go to the Resources page for a link to trip planning software you can put on your own computer.  This section covers web sites that might help you plan for that big trip - airline and hotel reservations (if needed), places to stay, things to see, where to eat, and useful info like exchange rates, visa/passport requirements, and so on.   Most of the information here is primarily about cities/states/countries, not about some small, out-of-the-way hamlet in the Ozarks.
     ;Because of this urban bias, I was reluctant to add this info and these sites to mine but then I thought about the exhibit of motorcycles-as-art in New York (fall, 1998), Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Florida (annually in March) and the annual Rolling Thunder event in Washington, D.C. (annually the Sunday before Memorial Day).   What if you wanted to go to a distant city to see something like these, or to use as a base for your tour of the hinterlands - say you fly to Australia and plan to rent a bike to tour the east coast of Oz, for example, and plan to start from Sydney.  Guides here will help you get into Australia, find things in Sydney, and then help you plan for your trip along the coast.

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     MAPS & DIRECTIONS:  I've got a link on my Lessons Learned & War Stories page to mapping sites on the Internet.  That covers the major players but there are two more that are not listed there.  These sites, and the ones in the other page can be used to get point-to-point maps or even street address to street address maps.  Unlike the trip planning software mentioned earlier, these web sites are (THEY SAY!) updated with current/new roads and speeds and so forth.  Since they're free, find one you like and is easy for you to use.

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     RESTAURANT GUIDES:  This is mainly for the Gold Wing Restaurant Reviewers Assn. folks who visit this site.   I was in it for over 10 years and I'm here to tell you that those people "Ride to Eat, Eat to Ride".  'Course, I've seen some Harley drivers who obviously don't pass every restaurant . . .  

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